July 1, 2009
At a special meeting of the Senate Council on Monday, June 29, 2009, called to discuss the emergency budget crisis confronting California and UC, the following items were endorsed unanimously.
First, a resolution was adopted calling for local budgetary autonomy, which has been conveyed to Chancellor Fox. This may be viewed at: http://www-senate.ucsd.edu/FrontPageDocs/UCOP/CA0609.pdf
Second, a short letter on the subject of the proposed salary reduction/furlough options was adopted, and this has also now been communicated to Chancellor Fox. This may be viewed at: http://www-senate.ucsd.edu/FrontPageDocs/UCOP/SF0609.pdf
For the latest updates from the Office of the President concerning budget plans, I urge all of you to view the recently released videotaped address by President Yudof, available at: http://www.universityofcalifornia.edu/budget/ which, after clicking on his picture, will take you to a YouTube site: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2MiYFHRacuc
In addition, a more recent announcement from President Yudof was released yesterday, June 30, which may be viewed at: http://www.universityofcalifornia.edu/budget/?p=454
For your convenience, the complete texts of the Resolution and of the Letter, adopted by our UC San Diego Senate Council and addressed to Chancellor Fox, are appended to this communication.
Daniel J. Donoghue, Chair
"Whereas, as UC San Diego approaches its 50th anniversary, having achieved great national and international distinction, our academic excellence - built upon sound policies of fiscal responsibility and restrained growth - will be irreparably harmed by implementation of any of the three options for budget reduction recently proposed by President Yudof.
Therefore, we call upon you, Chancellor Fox, to act on behalf of your faculty by directly and aggressively advocating with President Yudof for local budgetary autonomy in place of the three options he has presented."
June 30, 2009
Dear Chancellor Fox,
The Senate Council recognizes that the University of California is in a difficult fiscal situation and that President Yudof bears the responsibility for proposing possible solutions to The Regents. The Council was pleased to note that President Yudof has publicly expressed his commitments to continue academic review processes and merit funding; to exempt graduate students and postdoctoral fellows from furloughs/salary reductions; and to ask The Regents to protect employee retirement benefits no matter what furlough/salary reduction plan may ultimately be adopted. These are important principles, and the Council appreciates the President's commitment to protecting them.
Nonetheless, I write to express the unanimous opposition of the Senate Council to the three options for budget reductions in the Furlough/Salary Reduction Plan transmitted by President Yudof in his letter dated June 16, 2009.
While we recognize that salary reductions or furloughs may be necessary for salaries derived from State sources, to impose such cuts also on salaries derived from external sources (e.g., clinical income, federal contracts and grants, private donations) would be unnecessarily punitive. At UC San Diego (including the UC San Diego Medical Center), only 25% of all salaries are paid on General Funds that come from the State of California. The remaining 75% comes from external sources, including federally funded contracts and grants that accrue overhead to the University.
Uniform furloughs or salary reductions will: (a) greatly harm morale among the academics and staff who have been so successful at the innovations and discoveries that make UC San Diego one of the top research universities in the world; (b) make UC less competitive in the future and lead to serious hiring and retention issues; (c) have negative unintended financial consequences on the budget of UC and of the State of California (e.g., reduced overhead accrual, reduced income taxes, and decreased spending power); and (d) potentially worsen the underfunding of the UC retirement system.
Summarizing, we firmly oppose any furlough/salary reduction option that precludes the legitimate use of external sources of funds to cover salaries. We request that any policy regulating furloughs and pay cuts be limited to the portion of salaries that are funded by the State.
While we have limited our comments to the specific case of UC San Diego, similar arguments would also apply to other campuses within the UC system. This is all the more reason for the UC Office of the President to allow each Chancellor and each campus to develop its own furlough/salary reduction plan for State-derived funds, in consultation with all Vice Chancellor areas and the traditional bodies of shared governance.
Lastly, we ask you to communicate this letter to President Yudof. We will also ask Academic Council Chair Croughan to do the same.
Daniel J. Donoghue, Chair